I recently heard about the idea that instead of just creating New Year's resolutions to also spend time looking back and documenting all that happened in the year that has passed. Since 2020 was not only historical from the global perspective, but for my family, it brought an entire new life in almost every way. I figure it would be a healthy exercise to remember and recall such an incredible adventure that was 2020. This is more for me than anyone else reading, but if you happen to read this blog I hope you enjoy the ride :).
Really our year started off in December (2 days before Christmas, actually) when, after many hours of prayer and a whole lot of council from friends and family, Leslie and I agreed that she should accept a job offer to become the Music Director at a church in Beaufort, South Carolina. Our initial plan was for her to move out and start working the new job in early January, while I stay back with the girls to continue their schooling and make sure that this job is all that we hoped it would be prior to relocating the entire family across the country. As it turned out, our plans were accelerated by the quick sale of our home and we ended up making plans to move the whole family only four weeks after Leslie started her job. We were so happy to only be separated for one month when it could have been so much longer.
On February 22, the girls and I said goodbye to our life in San Diego to start a new one in Beaufort, SC. I moved to San Diego in 2003, Leslie moved there in 2006, and for my girls it was all they knew (they both were born in the living room of our small home blocks from the beach). We left behind all of our friends, my parents, my brother and his wife, and my kid's two cousins (their best friends). We left trusting that what we were moving into was better than what we were leaving behind. There was no knowing at that time how Devine the Lord's timing was for our move and relocation.
After a week of getting settled into our new home and getting acclimated to our new world, our girls started at their new school. The second week after arriving in our new home all of stuff arrived from the movers, the girls were set in their new school, and Leslie and I had some quality time reconnecting after a month of separation. The plan was after 2 weeks of getting the family reconnected and settled in our new home I was to fly back to San Diego to wrap up any final, in-person business needs at RMC (our music school). I was to remain the Executive Director working remotely from SC and fly back quarterly to check in and assist as needed. So on March 13 I flew back to San Diego. Little did I know that my 2 week trip become a short 7 day adventure. On March 18 I was forced to close all operations and layoff all staff at RMC due to the mandated CA government orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as the school was fully shut down, I booked a flight back to be with my family in SC. Together we began another huge transition of doing school from home for the remainder of the school year.
As we began to settle in to our life in quarantine, we discovered how much we really enjoy each other and spending time as a family. We were also blessed with the news that Leslie would not loose her job or any hours during the state shutdown, so not only did we still have a steady paycheck (for at least one of us) coming in - we got an unexpected stay-cation. We celebrated our first Holiday in SC - Easter. For the first time we had a spacious backyard that put together an epic Easter Egg hunt. In spite of not having the rest of our family (my parents, and my brother's family whom we had always celebrated these Holidays with in San Diego, we made it our own and had a great time. Also during this month, we discovered our neighborhood with its many forests, ponds, lakes, and woodland creatures galore who provided us with hours of entertainment. This is when I began to fall in love with our new surroundings. By the end of the month, my Board of Directors and I were able to band together and complete the emergency relief forms and received that great news that we qualified to receive a PPP loan, which lead to RMC opening up once again and I was able to hire back our entire staff at their full hours and pay. Now the real work began for us to recreate our business from an in-person model to fully on-line.
The first week of May RMC launched all of the new programs, classes, and lessons for our new on-line model. The staff came together in the most amazing way to face all of our many challenges and come up with probably the best on-line teaching model as well as inter-staff training programs I could have ever imagined (most of us had never taught on-line lessons before and had a lot to learn from the few who had limited experience). For the full month I saw our staff pull together and create amazing content and provide such a high level of music education in-spite of the great limitations and the high learning curve for many of our teachers. It was amazing to be a part of.
Our family also got to celebrate Leslie on Mother's Day, which is always very special to get to honor her for all she means to us. The girls continued their remote learning, which included a lot of beach time :)
This was one of the hardest months of the year for me, personally. On June 2, I was finally able to get my second back surgery that was postponed from April due to COVID. Although the surgery was a HUGE success and I finally became free of the intense back, leg and hip pain that I was struggling with for over two years, the second surgery in seven months meant for a long recovery. June, July and August were primarily spent in bed and in physical therapy to heal, recover, then rebuild strength and muscles that had been long neglected due to pain and lack of use. Four days after my surgery and while still heavily medicated the Board of Directors of RMC and I made the difficult decision to permanently close RMC for good. The lack of revenue coming in and the loss of over 75% of our students (most of who only wanted in-person lessons not on-line lessons) resulted in the inevitable choice to close our school after eleven and a half years.